“Modern Love” is The New York Times’ most widely read cultural column in both English and Spanish. It is also one of the paper’s most-listened-to podcasts and since 2019 a series on Prime with luxury casts that will premiere its second season this August. In the form of “life stories” and with exquisite editing of the texts, the 17 years of “Modern Love” are not just television material, but a true prospective of the evolution of American morality and bourgeois culture, its lacunae and its aftermath.
Month: July 2021
There has been a coup in Tunisia. After a day of anti-government demonstrations across the country, Tunisian President Kais ben Said, backed by the military leadership and trade unions, suspended the parliament, recalled Prime Minister Mechichi and stripped the ruling party of immunity. The islamists, who have been ousted from power are denouncing a coup d’état and the closure of the local branch of the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera is being used as proof of repression. Qatar, Turkey and the European media owned by Qatari capital, such as El País in Spain, are calling on Said to restore the Parliament. France and its press, on the other hand, support the President and welcome the opportunity. What is behind the coup in Tunisia? What does it mean for the workers?
China is getting ahead of the U.S. in the quantum race. Last week, it announced beating Google’s most advanced quantum computer. Meanwhile, IBM began installing a major quantum computer development project in Germany, announced to great fanfare by the German government, which it claims will generate €75 billion of “value.” The imperialist conflict is being played out in several fields at once. Information technologies and in particular the quantum race are among the main ones.
The industrial shortage is not limited to chips anymore. Hundreds of large companies are stopping production at different points in the global chain. The EU and Japan, fearful that U.S. harassment of Chinese products will affect their international investments, are pushing for accelerated repatriation of low-profit but high-impact industries. However, the new Covid wave and the floods in Germany and China have shown that industrial destocking and its aftermath for workers -temporary layoffs and even more precariousness…-are not a passing phenomenon.
With minutes to go until the opening of the Tokyo Olympics, preparations are being finalized in an atmosphere of disorganization, half-baked planning, protests, contagions, dismissals, corruption and grotesque propaganda. But even if these games were to be a paragon of organizational perfection, the “Olympic curse” of which the Japanese press speaks would still be at work because the real curse is the “Olympic Movement” itself and its ideology: the famous “Olympic Spirit.”
Right now there are workers from half a dozen companies camped out in permanent and open assembly, incorporating workers from sectors that remain in apparent normality. Everything points to the fact that we may be in the first moments of a mass strike, spontaneously self-organized and centralized in an open assembly of workers at Zhanaozen.
83% of Japanese people reject holding the Tokyo Olympics. And yet the Suga government and the IOC are determined to stick with an event that is dangerous for public health and most likely financially ruinous.
It is well known, and this is stated in all official scientific reports, that climate change increases the risk of extreme weather events. However, this is something very different from such events necessarily translating into death and destruction of entire villages as we have seen in Europe or massive fires as we are seeing in the USA. If this has been the case, it is because states are not fighting against climate change and its impacts on populations, but for the Green Deal, that is, for subordinating this goal to the recovery of capital’s profits by extracting income en masse from the workers.
Over the past month EU countries such as Denmark and Lithuania have unabashedly espoused new inhumane, if not criminal, policies towards migrants and refugees seeking asylum. Spiegel’s revelations and the European Parliament’s investigation have shown the involvement of border police in Italy, Malta, Greece and the head of Frontex, an EU agency, in real crimes against humanity. But this time there is no crisis or problem. The true face of an EU that routinely uses “Rule of Law” and “Human Rights” as imperialist propaganda is made visible.
The European Commission presented this week “Fit for 55”, a package of measures aimed at developing the European Climate Law. The stated aim is to reduce by 2030 emissions in the EU countries as a whole to 55% of what they were in 1990. The media linger on the end of cheap flights and the ban on the sale of cars with combustion engines by 2035. But first and foremost it is a way to inflate the speculative emissions market at the cost of higher fuel, heating, transport, food and construction prices.
The new wave of struggles involves more workers in a single assembly movement than the mass strike which swept through Iran’s petrochemical sector, steel mills and power plants last August. Organized at first through Telegram groups, workers tended to centralize the struggles from the first moment, organizing themselves in general village and city assemblies and then in assemblies between centers and localities, permanently connected. To this day, the workers have defeated both the companies’ attempts to divide the workforces and the threats of repression.
Thirty years of Mercosur… and maybe this is the last one. After months of tensions whipped up by the radicalization of agro-exporting interests in the face of the crisis and pandemic conditions, the Brazil-Uruguay-Paraguay axis no longer speaks of flexibilizing, but directly of ignoring the treaties. The end of Mercosur is a fact… for the time being, since the continent is not governed by blocs of countries with stable strategies, but is struggling between two transnational currents that fracture each national capital. The synchrony and parallelism provide a background of reality to the old project of the “Patria Grande”, but also expose its utopian and reactionary character.
News of an outbreak of protests in Cuba leapt through agencies to media outlets around the world yesterday. Beginning in San Antonio de los Baños, protests spread in a matter of hours from the West to the East of the country and ended up surrounding the Capitol in Havana. The regime’s response was swift: exculpatory speeches, calls for civil confrontation and door-to-door repression all night long.
Today’s news alone makes it clear that the EU is coming apart at the seams in the East… both among its members and with those aspiring countries in the Western Balkans. Tensions from which China, Turkey and Russia are far from being alien. But France and Germany are looking for more than just public works markets. They seek to create a low-wage region in order to shorten their production chains, increase margins and become less dependent on Asia.
The Ethiopian army, reinforced by Amhara militias and Eritrean and Somali troops has been driven out of the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle. The Tigray war has been turned on its head as the unstable imperialist balances between Arab countries and the U.S. have shifted against the government in Addis Ababa. And despite the announcements, the war is not over yet, although it has already left mass killings, ethnic cleansing with tens of thousands of dead, crimes against humanity, famine and destruction. At issue now are the future of Ethiopia and the fear of an extension of the war to other regions of the country.
The increase in the minimum wage in both Amazon and Target was accompanied by the reduction of working hours as well as the elimination of both health insurance and bonuses…which meant that workers’ real hourly earnings were actually reduced despite the wage hike. And it’s even worse. In the U.S. economy as a whole, inflation has already eaten into wage growth. And what is coming with the Green Deal is more of the same.